Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Services Programme
677. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will ensure that all community services programme workers and the organisations in which they work, many of which have continued to provide essential services during the Covid-19 crisis, have their full funding needs guaranteed by her Department for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic and for the subsequent ongoing service requirements caused by the pandemic. [44607/20]
The Community Services Programme, or CSP, supports more than 420 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. CSP funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution towards the cost of an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) (€19,033) positions including a manager (€32,000), where appropriate. Almost €49m is available to support the organisations under the programme in 2021.
In response to the difficulties faced by the organisations as a result of COVID-19, my Department developed a €1.2m Support Fund to assist CSP supported organisations to retain their CSP supported employees on their payroll during this crisis period. This provided support until August. This funding assisted CSP supported organisations to pay their full-time CSP supported employees a maximum of €350 net per week, with a proportionate amount for part-time CSP supported employees.
Pobal, who manage the programme on behalf of the Department, then carried out a detailed review of the financial position of all the CSP supported organisations in September, as their ability to generate income has been greatly hampered by the Covid-19 crisis in many cases. Following this review, my Department announced an additional €3.55m extension to the CSP Support Fund in November, bringing the overall Fund to €4.75m.
This additional funding will provide financial assistance to the organisations to continue to retain their CSP supported employees on their payroll from August 2020 until April 2021 and will also provide assistance for the Employers' PRSI contribution for all CSP supported employees, including managers.
To date, 357 CSP supported organisations have been approved a total of €3.6m under the Support Fund. A further 30 organisations are currently under consideration and a final decision will be made in the coming week.
In addition to this funding, 152 CSP supported organisations were approved funding of almost €9m under my Department's Covid-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprises.